Miami chef and Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef 2020, Niven Patel, waited over two years to open his latest restaurant concept, Orno.
The new eatery, which opened October 14 in Coral Gables at the Thesis Hotel, is the latest concept to open under Patel’s evolving Alpareno Restaurant Group umbrella, which also includes the lauded Ghee Indian Kitchen as well as last year’s newcomer Mamey.
Orno is a true farm-to-table restaurant concept heavily focused on fresh, quality ingredients sourced from the chef's own farm in Homestead known as Rancho Patel. Many of the 35-plus varieties of seasonal greens, fruits and vegetables that he grows can be found on the menu, including okra, which Patel grew from seeds brought back from India. The restaurant focuses on New American cuisine centered around locally-sourced vegetables, the highest quality meats, and sustainably caught seafood. Wood-fired culinary creations are complimented by specialty cocktails in a sophisticated ambiance.
Designed by Saladino Design Studios, Orno unfolds like a culinary showroom orbiting around an open-kitchen concept with marble bar seating where guests are invited to witness craftsmanship at its finest. Featuring a built-in, fresh produce display and wood-fired oven, the open kitchen was designed with materials that will cure and age naturally. The fire-brick wall is intended to subtly evolve as it absorbs the colors of the smoke, evoking the authenticity of Orno as a story not told overnight, but over time.
Given Orno’s philosophy, it was important to create an intimate space that felt upscale, yet inviting, says the chef. The color palette was inspired by the green leafy herbs, golden tones of turnips, and the earthy tones of soil found on the farm.
Nestled within Orno is The Library, what stands as the restaurant’s seductive private dining room with intimate seating for 20 guests. The hideaway features floor-to-ceiling bookshelves hand painted in navy with yellow accents filled with classic books, and velvet blush drapes. Tying the vision is a neon sign reading “Knowledge is the food of the soul,” a quote from the philosopher Plato. The ‘library of classics’ found within are part of the inspiration behind Orno’s extensive menu of signature libations based on famous literary figures.
“My goal is to bring people together and invite guests to be a part of the process," says Patel. "As guests walk into the dining room they are greeted by our open-kitchen concept where they can see the food being prepared, smell the garlic as it hits the pan, hear the sizzle of steak as it’s being basted and feel the warmth of the fire as a dish slides out of the wood oven. Dining at Orno is a journey the entices all the senses."
Orno is a play on the Spanish horno, which means oven and it’s exactly that which lies at the heart of the restaurant. The impressive wood- fired oven is the star dish maker but also part of what makes the guest experience.
Orno offers an impressive seasonal menu that takes guests on a gastronomic journey with small and large plates, wood-fired pizzas and savory sides. Each dish on the menu can stand on its own or come together to create a beautiful tapestry of flavors. The menu opens with small plates that range from the vegetarian-friendly Roasted Summer Squash ($14), squash blossom served with herb yogurt, sumac and toasted almonds; and Vadouvan Cauliflower ($14), with pickled apples, Aleppo pepper and lemon; to seafood standouts including Red Snapper Crudo ($17), topped with mango, Thai basil, smoked olive oil and Espelette peppers; and Grilled Octopus ($19), with potato confit, pimenton aioli, and celery.
Indulgent pastas include Rigatoni ($22) served with tomato ragù, sun dried tomatoes and basil butter, and the Bucatini ($21), featuring Sunray Venus Clams served with a shallot confit and Calabrian chili peppers. The only restaurant in North America serving this clam varietal, Orno sources their Sunray Venus Clams locally. Rounding out the small plates is Roasted Bone Marrow ($26), served with a shallot marmalade, horseradish and orange; Beef Tartare ($20), with smoked chili oil, pickled black trumpet and egg yolk; and Jamon Iberico de Fermin ($28), served with six-month Manchego and peach chutney.
Specialty large plates include entrees from the land and sea including a Whole Grilled Branzino ($72) topped with a fennel sofrito; Wood Oven Roasted Black Grouper ($34), with marinated butter beans and cascabel chili; Australian Lamb Rack ($42), with Medjool dates, coriander and mint; a Wood Fired Half Chicken ($42), with harissa and jardineria; Iberico Pork Pluma ($34) with peperona; and the A5 Wagyu Sirloin 6oz. ($62) with single harvest olive oil and grey sea salt.
Unique cocktails inspired by literary classics include the Holly Golightly ($16), a revitalizing cocktail mixed with St. Germaine and a lavender bitter soaked sugar cube topped with champagne; and the Master Copperfield ($14), Wray and Nephew Jamaican Overproof Rum torched with lemon peel and sugar, Hennessy Cognac, black tea and lemon; drawing from the legendary Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield,” respectively. Orno brings the Ernest Hemingway enduring novel, “The Sun Also Rises” to life with the Jack Rose ($14), made with Courvoisier Cognac VS, Copper and Kings Brandy, pomegranate reduction and fresh lime; and the Old Sport ($15), inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” with Maker's Mark Bourbon, muddled lemon, mint and Angostura Bitters.
Orno will be open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. For more information on Orno visit ornomiami.com or follow @OrnoMiami on Instagram.